On Saturday, May 4th at the OCC Chair’s Dinner and Awards Presentation, a part of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce 107th Annual General Meeting and Conference in Muskoka, one of our own received a prestigious provincial award.

The recipient of this year’s Richard Dolphin Community Service Award was presented to Bobby Ray, a director on the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce board and the chair of the Young Professionals Committee for the Chamber.

The award, bestowed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, recognizes a chamber board member whose dedication to community service and the chamber network has led to chamber success.

Bobby Ray is the manager of the North Bay Granite Club (Curling and Tennis centre on Trout Lake Road) and highly involved community supporter through numerous different organizations.

Through his work, Mr. Ray has acted as the Host Committee Administrator for the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championships, worked with the committee to host the 10-day World Women’s Curling Championships in March 2018, and is excitingly preparing for the arrival of the 2019 Masters (Grand Slam of Curling event) coming to Memorial Gardens in October.

Ray additionally works with Ontario provincial Curling associations as a coach developer and digital communications coordinator.

Mr. Ray is a past director on Sport North Bay and last year joined the Board of Governors for Nipissing University.  Mr. Ray is the current Young Professional Representative on the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

Bobby Ray accepted the award and said “I am pleased to accept this award and encourage all young professionals to be engaged in their community through the Chamber and other organizations that promote growth and prosperity for our communities and Ontario.”

The nomination was presented to OCC for Mr. Ray’s increased engagement in the chamber network through his successful program called #FiftyTwoCoffees.

#FiftyTwoCoffees was an initiative created by Bobby Ray, and received an incredible response from participants that exceeded all expectations.  In 2019, eighty-four individuals under the age of forty committed to meet, one-on-one and face-to-face, while sharing each others’ stories through social media for the community to see.

Each week, they would meet a new person in the program, allowing them to make connections throughout the year and inspiring collaboration and to strengthen the local business environment that “WE, the next generation of impassioned citizens, will be inheriting” as stated in their program outline to participants.

Bobby Ray stated “The #FiftyTwoCoffees program serves to harness the power of modern technology and social media while at the same time re-engaging young professionals in the effective practice of building relationships with peers through human conversation.”

Chair Charles Elliott, North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce stated “Bobby Ray has been an exceptional addition to our board this year.  He is a true leader and has brought even more young professionals to the table.  The Young Professionals are the emerging community leaders and we are pleased to see their engagement in the Chamber network, ensuring their voices are heard as the business world changes and grows.”   While the #FiftyTwoCoffees program was only introduced to those young professionals in our community that are under the age of 40; Chair Charles Elliott continued that “we’ve had numerous other members that would like to see this program expanded in the future.”